While this is often thought of as a season of “giving,” we must be mindful that some in this world see this time of year as a season of “taking.” Simple thefts of cars and homes rise dramatically during the month of December. There are several reasons for this, but the obvious ones are the fact that gifts (both wrapped and unwrapped are left in cars), and that dark homes while owners vacation stand out against others that are brightly lit.
One easy way to avoid the likelihood of being victimized is to keep all gifts in the trunk of your car. That way, they are not visible and enticing for a “smash and grab.” Most vehicles today have locks that prevent access to the trunk without a key – even when inside the car itself. Thus, if you have to place gifts in your trunk while standing in a parking lot, make sure to use the additional lock feature to prevent a thief from following you to your next destination and simply breaking your car window and popping open the trunk. Be extremely mindful of these problems when leaving high end stores that sell computers, jewelry, televisions, etc.
When parking your car at a store or mall, try to avoid isolated areas of the parking lot. If possible, park under a light and near other cars. In addition, if there are designated walkways in the parking lot, try to find a spot near them. That way, you will have a constant flow of people passing by your vehicle to deter someone from forcing entry.
If you are fortunate enough to take a vacation or find yourself out-of-town visiting family and friends during the holidays, take steps to make it look like somebody is still at home. The simplest way to accomplish this task is to purchase timers for your lamps. Set them to turn on and turn off at times consistent with when you are at home. Sure, there are criminals like those in the movie “Home Alone” who monitor when timed lights turn on and off. However, it will take several days for a criminal to be certain that is actually the case.
Even better, have a trusted friend or family member perform some basic house sitting tasks. They can enter each day or every other day to turn on different lights, move things around, change the position of cars in the driveway, etc. Variety of the normal aspects of your home’s appearance is key to deterring criminals who are looking for consistent signs that nobody is home.
Me mindful to cancel your newspapers and mail. Nothing screams “we’re not home” louder than a pile of newspapers at the end of your driveway. If you have a house sitter, consider having him or her retrieve the papers and mail each day. Again, that will create the appearance that somebody is there attending to the routine business of the house.